Booker’s bosses will embark on a tour of the UK this week, with plans to address the concerns of thousands of convenience store owners fearful of the implications of the shock Tesco merger.
As part of a UK-wide tour, chief executive Charles Wilson and managing director Steve Fox will attempt to convince thousands of convenience store owners under the Booker supply chain about the benefits of the £3.7 billion merger.
Wednesday will see Premier convenience store owners attend Newbury Racecourse, where the Booker bosses will argue their case.
This comes after growing concern from the convenience sector that the merger places too much control over the supply chain in the hands of Tesco.
Booker supplies a vast array of shops throughout the UK, with 5463 stores including brands Premier, Londis, Budgens and Happy Shopper.
These stores are franchised by Booker, but the shop keepers own the properties.
The Association of Convenience Stores has already stated it would be lobbying the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority in order to make clear that vast pressures this deal could place on rival convenience stores like Nisa and Spar.
One of Booker’s key arguments will be that competition concerns are irrelevant as it only owns six of the thousands of shops it supplies.
Yet a source expert source told The Telegraph: “It will run through Tesco’s buying and sourcing teams, meaning that Tesco will not only control the supply and pricing that feeds into its 3569 supermarkets,
“Tesco Metros and One Stop convenience shops, but the entire Booker convenience network.
“Their argument about ownership and supply is a red herring and the nature of being an independent sits at odds with Tesco being in control of your supply.”